Controversial Slugger Nakata Transferred to Yomiuri Giants
Tokyo, Aug. 20 (Jiji Press)--The Yomiuri Giants professional baseball team on Friday acquired Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters slugger and infielder Sho Nakata, who had been suspended from all games for an act of violence against a Fighters teammate.
"I think it was a foolish act, and I have strong feelings of guilt and regret," Nakata told a press conference in Tokyo on the day. "For the first time in my life, I've experienced how hard it is to be unable to play baseball," he added.
It was his first public appearance since he was suspended Aug 11. To members of Fighters, a Pacific League club, Nakata said: "I'll never forget the 14 years I spent with my teammates. I have nothing but gratitude." He also thanked Hideki Kuriyama, manager of the Fighters, based in the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido, for always "caring about me."
His suspension was lifted in line with the transfer, done for free. The Tokyo-based Giants, which belongs to the Central League, gave Nakata the jersey number 10. "I must never disappoint people who trust me," Nakata said. "I'll start over and take a deep look at myself," he added.
Atsuhiro Otsuka, deputy head of the company operating the Giants, said, "I heard that (Nakata) was ready to quit baseball as he deeply regrets what he did."
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]